No matter where I seem to go this Christmas I can't seem to get out of the emotional storm and the long dark shadows that seem to diminish any hope of light. The mass murder of children; fragile life, hope filled life in the midst of a broken world snuffed out in minutes. And now in the wake of the aftershocks that reverberate through the midst of humanity...people point in all directions for why.
But reality stares them in the face, profoundly it does not seem to see it. A nation whose currency is chiseled much like the 10 commandments, with a profound and ancient statement of faith, " In God We Trust." Yet, in an act of profound irony, trust, security come from a nation that clings to 300,000,000 small arms. Can a nation entangled, trapped in constant fear ever imagine faith in Jesus words, " Love the Lord your God, with all your being, everything you possess; and in the same embrace love your neighbor exactly the same...with all your being...with everyhing you possess.
In 2013, and beyond do we even imagine a faith like this being lived out...or will it be buried in the concsciousness of humanity as a wild beautiful idea. and nothing more.
Here, I'm stuck...these thoughts tumbling in my mind like a washing machine stuck in the spin cycle. I close my eyes, trying to focus, searching for some toggle switch to shut it all off. There is nothing to be found. And also tumbling these quotes...
“Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is love.”
“What it means to be human is to bring up your children in safety, educate them, keep them healthy, teach them how to care for themselves and others, allow them to develop in their own way among adults who are sane and responsibile, who know the value of the world and not its economic potential. It means art, it means time, it means all the invisibles never counted by the GDP and the census figures. It means knowing that life has an inside as well as an outside. And I think it means love.” ( Jeanette Winterson: The Stone Gods )
And in the aftermath of 20 precious children horribly, viciously erased from a community, from the embrace of loving families...we are left to celebrate the birth of the God-child. Even as I think about this my stomach is tied in knots, this gut wrenching tension. The bizarre theological idea of a cosmic creator, a God, a Father that would birth " his " only precious child in the midst of his creation. A child that would be cuddled, nurtured, cared for...fed by the breast of humanity. To be loved by human parents. But all the while God has a conscious plan in the back of his mind. In the background is a seething, vengeful God, a Father whose anger against sin can only be snuffed out by pouring out his wrath and fury on his precious child. This is the only solution, the only way out to restore a relationship.
Behind, the calm and peaceful scene of angels singing, shepherds watching, cattle lowing...the cosmic glitering surf rolling across the dark mysterious oceans of heaven...a Father plans the death of his precious only child.
This theology I was barely hanging on to...and as those lives quickly vanished before our eyes, so did that faith. But all is not lost, I'm left with the love of a mother...the mother of the God-child. The profound and mysterious belief and faith that she clung to as the divine eternal embryonic life was blossoming in her womb.
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
I can only imagine in the God-child, this being, fully human and fully divine...in the entanglement of the DNA of life...of mother and child, was a plan that Mary profoundly felt and understood more than anyone. This profound idea of incarnation, was evolutionary and revolutionary. God with us, in the midst of humanity was the birth of a profound of a revolution...the evolution of a new creation. This was the God-news...that this redemptive new life, and restorative plan could be birthed into "all" humanity. We could "all" be a part of it.
It was a plan of peace, and non-violence...where we didn't view the "other" with suspicion and fear. But rather in a posture, of defence and preemptive aggression we would lay down our sword and love our enemies. The profound disturbing redemptive imagination that love can conquer all.
It was a plan where the tilt of the earth would do a full 180 degrees, where those on the bottom would be on top.
It was a plan where the starving, the hungry of mankind would be invited to a banquet where the bounty of God's creation would be layed before them. They would be fed, restored back to health while the rich, and prosperous were sent away hungry.
It was a plan where the powerful, and the oppressor would be toppled from their thrones...and in their place, in the middle ground would be the humble, and the compassionate.
This Christmas I can't believe in the vengeful vindictive Father...I believe in a Father, a loving parent that would risk is only child on love. A creator willing to weave a strand of the divine into the DNA of humanity. And in the same DNA, I see the potential, the profound mysterious redemptive plan to alter life, to re-create humanity anew.
In the tragic loss of 20 children in Newtown...and in the birth of a God-child. Let's again regain that trust, " In God We Trust ", but not only God...but in our neighbor, in "all" humanity. And let us as humanity grasp " Hope ", in this divine redemptive plan of a mothers love...a world in which we can recreate anew in " Love."
For the sake of Jesus, for the sake of the children of Newtown and through out the global village lets create a new world in...unending Love.
Merry Christmas everyone.